Whether you know how to sew or not, everyone should know how to sew on a button! Replacing a button that has fallen off is a necessary life skill, and if you don’ t know how to sew a button yet, keep reading. Today we’ll teach you how to sew on a button with our easy step by step instructions.
More in the Learn How to Sew series for beginners:
If you are a beginner wanting to learn how to sew, this is the perfect beginning sewing lesson for you since it requires no sewing machine and is a skill you’ll use over and over again. Sewing buttons on is so easy that even the youngest beginners can do this sewing project (with adult supervision, of course).
Supplies Needed to Sew a Button
You can buy all of the supplies to sew a button at a fabric store, craft store, or mass retailers (like Walmart) that have sewing notions sections. Here are the supplies you’ll need to sew a button:
- needle threader (optional)
If you need a little extra help in the needle threading department, use a small metal tool called a needle threader to help get the thread through the eye of the needle.
I say that the needle threader is optional because some people are very good at threading needles on their own. It depends on your precision, skill, experience, and the size of your needle’s eye. A small needle eye is much more difficult to thread than a large needle eye.
So, if you feel you want to try the needle threader, they are very inexpensive and come in most sewing and repair kits or can be purchased alone for about $1.
How to Replace a Button if You Lost It
If a button fell off of your clothes and was lost, you can’t just sew it back into place. Since you need the buttons on your clothes to all match and be the same, you have 2 options:
- Use a spare button from the garment. If you are lucky, your clothing might have a spare button sewn on the inside for repairs. Check the inside bottom of jackets and coats for spare buttons.
- Buy a whole new set of buttons and replace them all. Of course, this option takes longer, but you need all of your buttons to match.
How to Sew a Button: Step by Step
Step 1. Choose a color of thread which matches the button and fabric.
Step 2. Cut about 24 inches (2 feet) of thread. I know this seems really long for a button, but don’t worry! It will be doubled over in the needle, so it will only really be about 12 inches long.
Step 3. Thread your sewing needle and pull the thread through until it is the same length on both sides.
Step 4. Tie a secure knot at the end of the thread to hold both sides together. Make sure the knot is big enough that it won’t pull through the needle’s eye. You might have to do the knot a couple times in the same place to build up its size.
Step 5. Find the place where you need to sew the button. If you are replacing a lost button that fell off, you can see the holes from where it was attached before.
Step 6. Put the button in place. Put the needle underneath the fabric (on the wrong side) and push the needle through on of the button’s holes so that the sharp point is sticking out of the front of your clothing.
Step 7. Grab the sharp end of the needle (not by the point though!) and pull it all the way through the front side of the fabric. Pull it tight to make sure all of the thread is through.
Step 8. Hold the button in place with one hand, and put the needle through the hole diagonal from the first one. Push the needle down through the fabric and pull the thread tight on the back side.
Step 9. Put the needle and thread back up and through the button hole above the last one.
Step 10. Stitch down through the last hole.
Step 11. Repeat steps 7-10 until you have almost run out of thread and the button is secure to the clothing. Make sure you have at least 3 stitches in each of the button’s holes. Now you just need to tie the thread off.
Step 12. Make sure your needle is on the backside of the fabric. Put the needle sideways through the backside of all the stitches. When it comes out the other side, pull the needle and thread tight, then make a double knot.
Step 13. Cut the thread close to the garment (so there isn’t too much hanging off as a loose end) and put away your sewing needle.
Great job – your button is now attached! Give a little tug on your button to make sure it is snug and secure to the clothing item. If you didn’t have enough thread to complete the process, you can rethread the needle and go over it again to further reinforce your button-sewing job.
It’s easy to learn how to sew a button as long as you follow the steps. Even reading through the instructions for sewing a button may have you a little confused until you try it for yourself (especially if you’re a hands-on learner).
If this is the case, get your supplies out and follow the directions as you are sewing the button so you can see what to do next. Some buttons also only have 2 holes instead of 4. In that case, you just need to modify the sewing instructions by going back and forth from side to side with your stitches instead of diagonal.
Enjoy your new sewing and clothing repair skill of sewing on a button! You never know when or where this basic life skill will come in handy and save the day!